While parenting is undeniably rewarding, it's probably also the hardest thing you'll do in your life. Parenting is an ongoing challenge because of the constant course corrections you have to make as your child grows up. Their needs and demands change with age, and it can be difficult to keep pace.
Whether it's starting toilet training or deciding when to introduce a kid's phone, your parenting strategies must keep up with your child's growth. Of course, making the needed shifts is easier said than done. Read on to learn what development and discipline challenge to expect from your child at various stages of their life. Then you can apply the appropriate parenting strategies to overcome these challenges.
The physical and emotional growth of toddlers happens at a rapid pace. As their motor skills rapidly develop, they soon gain the freedom to explore the spaces around them. They also develop communication skills to let you know what they want.
Toddlers are famously impatient, and they can make their displeasure (loudly) known! Their inability to express their feelings clearly can worsen disagreements. Your inability to understand their specific needs at certain times can lead to stress for both parent and child.
Make your home child-proof to minimize the chances of mishaps and conflict. The curious and exploring nature of children can often lead to dangerous situations. Make sure there are no dangerous tools or potential choking hazards lying around that the child can easily access.
Toddlers can be picky eaters, so provide a variety of healthy foods to ensure they get a nutritious meal. Sleep is another important factor to focus on. If toddlers are not getting adequate sleep, their level of crankiness can reach another level.
The transformation of toddlers to preschoolers is accompanied by some major physical, social, and emotional growth. Preschool children will have their emotions under better control. They will show a deeper interest in learning and playing with other kids.
Kids of this age love to keep their parents on their toes. They also develop a knack for getting things done their way through frequent whining. On the upside, they love to learn and play and discover new things around them. They are passionate about doing the things they love.
It is important to make your child aware that if they are not following basic rules, there will be consequences. Proactively introduce disciplinary practices (time-outs, suspension of privileges, etc.) to your parenting strategies.
Focus on their sleep and healthy eating more now, as their growing bodies will need plenty of both. This is also the right time to teach them how to start caring for themselves. Bedtime face-washing and tooth-brushing should be their responsibilities at this stage.
A school-going child makes amazing progress in terms of learning. They will share stories of happenings at school and also enjoy their new social surroundings. They will make new friends and discover a whole other world outside the home.
One of the most notable changes in school-age kids is resistance. They may try to defy instructions and test your patience severely. Their demands also grow in scale. As they learn to handle technology, they could start demanding a cellphone or other gizmos that catch their fancy.
One of the biggest challenges you could face is resistance in doing daily homework or cleaning up their rooms. This is also the age where kids will want to stay up late and enjoy some more freedom.
You need to understand and accept that the needs of kids of this age are different. While they still must follow rules, you need to give them greater scope for decision-making. This may involve getting a cellphone of their own, either one designed specifically for kids or one you limit via parental controls. In this way, you can meet their demand for a device of their own halfway.
Eating and sleeping well continue to be important. Both will help ensure they can take on the additional responsibilities of school learning and more demanding physical and mental activities. This is a good time to teach your kid the importance of health and caring for their body. Baths may turn into showers as they take more charge of caring for their own hygiene.
When you encounter resistance, be firm but calm, explaining the downsides of staying up late, not eating their vegetables, and so on. If the defiance persists, impounding their electronics for a time will likely increase their cooperation.
Tweens are in a different zone. They are not kids anymore - they're just a few years shy of being teenagers. They can be more difficult to handle, as shifting hormones tend to create a major change in their behavior. They generally prefer spending time with friends rather than family members. They face a wide range of development issues, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
It is a huge challenge to read the minds of tweens. You may think you know what they are up to, but they can occasionally spring major surprises. Along with shifting hormones often come mood swings and changes in behavior. Your child may appear a bit more rebellious and disrespectful than before. They will likely question your actions and disciplinary methods at times.
At this age, your child is exploring their identity, which explains the behavioral shifts. It is important to understand that these changes are normal for this developmental stage.
Technology also plays a key role in the life of the tween. If your child already has a kid's phone, they may demand a more grownup model at this point. If you provide one, make sure you frame clear rules for its use. Let your child know you will be monitoring their texts and social media use.
Your rules may face rebellion in some form. But sticking to your stand (and withholding privileges if necessary) will usually help you come out on top.
Parenting is a big challenge regardless of the age of your kid. There is no one uniform strategy that can be applied to all parenting situations. The good news is, you're not alone. Every parent must keep tweaking their parenting practices to meet the evolving challenges in the life of their growing child.